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Depression in Children

It may not seem possible, and most people don’t want to think about depression in children.

Different from developmental disorders such as ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorders and different from mental disorders such as Schizophrenia, which have obvious symptoms, Depression can occur in children.

Childhood DepressionUp until about 20 years ago, depression in children wasn’t widely recognized.  It wasn’t that the depression didn’t exist; it was undoubtedly just that we didn’t know about it.  Two decades ago, even if the child was aware that “something” was wrong, the parents, teachers, and other adults were likely to dismiss it as a “stage” or “phase” that the child was going through.

There were several reasons for that way of thinking, such as:

  • A belief that children didn’t get depression – adolescents were dismissed as “moody,” younger children were dismissed as “difficult.”
  • Medication available for depression wasn’t appropriate for children due to severe side effects.  Newer antidepressants were not available until Prozac was approved in 1988 for adults.  These medications known as “serotonin specific reuptake inhibitors” (SSRIs) were not approved for children until 2002 and to date, only Prozac is recommended for depression in children though Zoloft and Luvox may be used for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in children.
  • The long-term effects of depression were not yet known.  Depression at any age can contribute to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Today, we recognize childhood depression.  About 11 percent of children have experienced at least one episode of childhood depression before the age of 18, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Normal behavior can certainly vary from child to child and from age to age – as children are prone to “stages” that they will grow out of.  But if a child has an extended period of depression – it is something that should be properly addressed. Such serious issues should not be taken lightly.

Juveniles (those up to age 17) often have different symptoms of depression than those common in adults.  Children with depression may be excessively sad and lethargic, but depression may also show as:

  • Complaints of illness
  • Refusal to go to school
  • Clinging to a parent or caregiver
  • Excessive worrying
  • Sulking
  • Grouchiness
  • Anxiety
  • Acting out at school
  • Excessive negativeness
  • Feelings of being misunderstood

Depressed FeelingsThese symptoms are occasionally experienced by most children as they are growing up, but when symptoms persist for several months or interrupt normal activities and development, more investigation is needed.  One needs to find out what the cause may be.  If a child is being bullied – he or she may not want to go to school.  If a child complains of illness – it may truly be sick.  On the other hand if these events occur over and over, you need to discuss the problem with a doctor.  You may also need to see a child psychiatrist or psychologist.  In some cases, therapy may be warranted but in other cases, the child may benefit from medication suitable for depression.

In any event, you should not ignore symptoms of depression or any other mental illness signs – but investigate them.  It may be that your child is “going through a stage”, but it may be more serious.

Children complaining of illness may be depressed!

Dealing with Stress and Coping in the 21st Century

Modern day life is so fast paced that it leads to increasing episodes of stress.

It is quite common for each one of us to experience stress, be it the workplace or at home. While it is not possible to eliminate stress altogether, we can survive by changing our response to stressing and how we deal with it.

Nervous and StressedWhen you are constantly under pressure, not only are you facing mental strain, but your body also become dysfunctional and suffer physically. Stress might have antagonistic effects on your health and your general health might go south. You might be easily affected by hypertension, heart ailments and problems like diabetes, eating disorders, etc.

For this reason, it is essential to get pressure head on and deal with it and head to reduce stress levels. Let us now learn a few steps to help control and cope with stress.

Understand the Cause for Stress

Many people worry for anything and everything. Sometimes they do not even realize they are worrying and are getting stressed out. If you are feeling stressed, understand why you are feeling stressed. Sometimes the cause is so trivial that you will understand that you need not be stressed for that cause. So, by understanding the cause for stress, you may be able to eliminate the stress altogether.

Forget Your Worries

Sometimes it is essential to let go of everything and forget your worries. Find something else to do so that you are not worrying. Find time to pursue a hobby, go on a vacation, play a sport, sing if you can, etc are some of the ways that people try to eliminate stress and cope with it.

Do not fret about Things you have any Control Over

Some people are stressed because of some general occurrence such as a calamity, the traffic situation while driving, how your local team performed in the annual meet, etc. Understand that this is a situation where you have no say and avoid getting stressed due to such reasons.

Healthy Food Can Reduce StressEat Right

Stress can cause severe disturbances to eating habits. While some might skip meals altogether, others might tend to overeat. Eat right! This is essential to help you cope up with stress and be able to deal with it.

Exercise will help you relieve stress as this is a major stress buster. Not only will it help eliminate stress, it will also help you overcome problems associated with stress like hypertension, heart ailments, diabetes, etc.

In the course of our everyday life stress is a serious problem that each and everyone. It is possible to alter the way we react to stress and thus not get into many health problems that are associated with increased stress, although we cannot eliminate stress from our lives.